Posted in Books We Like

Summer Reading: Beach Reads Edition

Trying to decide which books merit room in the suitcase for your upcoming beach trip? Need an easy-yet-engrossing story that goes well with hammocks and cold drinks? Let the LRC staff ease your burden with a list of new arrivals and old favorites perfect for vacation reading. Click on each title for reviews and author interviews.

Joyland (Stephen King): Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever.-Book jacket

Bonus: Stephen King talks about growing up and being scared on NPR

Jungleland (Christopher Stewart): On April 6, 1940, explorer and future World War II spy Theodore Morde (who would one day attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler), anxious about the perilous journey that lay ahead of him, struggled to fall asleep at the Paris Hotel in La Ceiba, Honduras.

Nearly seventy years later, in the same hotel, acclaimed journalist Christopher S. Stewart wonders what he’s gotten himself into. Stewart and Morde seek the same answer on their quests: the solution to the riddle of the whereabouts of Ciudad Blanca, buried somewhere deep in the rain forest on the Mosquito Coast. What begins as a passing interest slowly turns into an obsession as Stewart pieces together the whirlwind life and mysterious death of Morde, a man who had sailed around the world five times before he was thirty and claimed to have discovered what he called the Lost City of the Monkey God.-Book description

Inferno (Dan Brown): No beach reads list is complete without a Dan Brown novel and his latest mystery plunges protagonist Robert Langdon on a Divine Comedy-inspired tour of Italy during which he solves riddles while pursued by shadowy forces.

Wedding Night (Sophie Kinsella): When the love of Lottie’s life gives her a vacation instead of an engagement ring, she breaks up with him in typical dramatic Lottie style. Days later, her college boyfriend Ben makes an appearance, and the two quickly decide to wed. Meanwhile, Lottie’s sister Fliss and Ben’s best friend Lorcan frantically try to derail the wedding night while they fight their own growing attraction. Never fear: in the end—after international flights, bribery, blackmail, and disaster—all the characters end up discovering true love and learning a bit about themselves in the process. VERDICT Kinsella continues to delight in creating quirky characters and over-the-top situations, and this title is a perfect choice for those craving a great escape.-Library Journal

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (Cheryl Strayed): At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.-Book description

Prep (Curtis Sittenfeld): Lee Fiora is an intelligent, observant fourteen-year-old when her father drops her off in front of her dorm at the prestigious Ault School in Massachusetts. She leaves her animated, affectionate family in South Bend, Indiana, at least in part because of the boarding school’s glossy brochure, in which boys in sweaters chat in front of old brick buildings, girls in kilts hold lacrosse sticks on pristinely mown athletic fields, and everyone sings hymns in chapel.

As Lee soon learns, Ault is a cloistered world of jaded, attractive teenagers who spend summers on Nantucket and speak in their own clever shorthand. Both intimidated and fascinated by her classmates, Lee becomes a shrewd observer of–and, ultimately, a participant in–their rituals and mores. As a scholarship student, she constantly feels like an outsider and is both drawn to and repelled by other loners. By the time she’s a senior, Lee has created a hard-won place for herself at Ault. But when her behavior takes a self-destructive and highly public turn, her carefully crafted identity within the community is shattered.-Book description


Posted in Books We Like, New Books, News Flash

A Trio of New Additions

bad monkey coverBad Monkey (Carl Hiaasen): Andrew Yancy—late of the Miami Police and soon-to-be-late of the Monroe County sheriff’s office—has a human arm in his freezer. There’s a logical (Hiaasenian) explanation for that, but not for how and why it parted from its shadowy owner. Yancy thinks the boating-accident/shark-luncheon explanation is full of holes, and if he can prove murder, the sheriff might rescue him from his grisly Health Inspector gig (it’s not called the roach patrol for nothing). But first—this being Hiaasen country—Yancy must negotiate an obstacle course of wildly unpredictable events with a crew of even more wildly unpredictable characters, including his just-ex lover, a hot-blooded fugitive from Kansas; the twitchy widow of the frozen arm; two avariciously optimistic real-estate speculators; the Bahamian voodoo witch known as the Dragon Queen, whose suitors are blinded unto death by her peculiar charms; Yancy’s new true love, a kinky coroner; and the eponymous bad monkey, who with hilarious aplomb earns his place among Carl Hiaasen’s greatest characters. (book description)

towerThe Tower (Simon Toyne): When a cyber-attack at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland disables the Hubble telescope and the Nobel Prize–winning scientist in charge disappears, the only clues left behind are a cryptic countdown clock and a chilling message displayed on the missing man’s computer: Mankind Must Look No Further. (book description)




Gulp-cover-350Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (Mary Roach): Fans of lively writing will be delighted by the newest monosyllable from Mary Roach. Once again Roach boldly goes where no author has gone before, into the sciences of the taboo, the macabre, the icky, and the just plain weird. And she conveys it all with a perfect touch: warm, lucid, wry, sharing the unavoidable amusement without ever resorting to the cheap or the obvious. Yum! —Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology and author of How the Mind Works

Posted in Distance Learning, Online Classes, Tech Tips

Tech Tips, Distance Learning Student Edition: Your Skeleton Key* to Success at HCC

Online classes offer numerous advantages, including among them the ability to work from home and complete your assignments according to your own schedule. The benefits come with a few drawbacks, however, as you miss out on classtime interaction with teachers and fellow students. The key to overcoming these barriers and getting the most out of your online course experience is one simple word: Communication. Follow these simple tips to effectively improve your online classroom communication:

  • You will not be able to ask your instructor questions in the classroom but be sure to take advantage of any class discussion forums to ask your questions and to read those of others-often these will provide you with some answers or inspiration.
  • Get to know your fellow classmates as well. You don’t need to live near each other to form study groups–try forums, email, or services such as Skype or Google Hangout.
  • Keep your instructor informed. Having difficulties completing or submitting an assignment? Dead links or trouble viewing files on the Moodle class page? Let your instructor know immediately by his or her preferred contact method, and, if the deadline is looming, consider emailing an attachment of the assignment in question. This is no guarantee of acceptance but it does let your instructor know that you are working hard and are engaged with the material.
  • Email any questions you have to your instructor well in advance of assignment due dates to allow time for a proper response. If necessary, you may wish to try and set up a phone chat or campus visit to allow for more in depth discussions.
  • It goes without saying, but remember to respect your instructors and fellow students. Summer is busy for everyone so response times to questions and calls may be a bit slower than during the semester proper.


*Skeleton Key: a key that will open several types of locks, or, when used in literature and myth, a key that can open any lock, magical or otherwise.

Posted in News Flash

Hours Update: Summer I Session starts June 4th

Welcome (back) students! The LRC is on summer schedule and will be open 8am-6:30pm Monday-Thursday and from 8am-12pm on Fridays. We look forward to working with our students, old and new, and will also resume regular services (Research Consultations and the like) and regular updates on our social media outlets.

Posted in Monday Morsels

Monday Morsels: New Coke

We have all experienced it—dates and events that define a moment in our lives.  We recount stories and experiences with passion and detailed description.  For example, current college students might have grown up with hearing stories of the assassination of JFK or John Lennon from their parents.  Or, newcomers to western North Carolina will definitely hear stories of the Blizzard of ’93 from those who lived through it.

Coca-Cola TruckHowever, no other date in U.S. history is more significant than April 23, 1985*.  Two words: New Coke.  It was a Tuesday, and in Atlanta, Georgia, a warm breeze wafted through the city.  According to The Farmer’s Almanac that day, the heat rose to 82.9 degrees Fahrenheit…but temperatures were about to skyrocket!  John Pemberton concocted Coca-Cola, a drink patented as an “esteemed brain tonic and intellectual beverage,” in 1886 in a small drugstore near Atlanta, Georgia.  Fast forward 125 years and the Coca-Cola Company has over 3500 world-wide products, is available in over 200 countries, and reaches over 1 million people per quarter through social media today.  That remarkable business success almost came crashing down in late April 1985 with the announcement that the Coca-Cola Company would be altering the trademarked formula amid slipping sales.  In attempts to add some energy into soda sales, Coca-Cola decided to re-brand the classic Coke formula as a sweeter, smoother soda in attempts to compete with the rise of PepsiCo’s Pepsi-Cola and the “new generation.”

The idea to redevelop the secret soda formula did not come lightly.  The Coca-Cola Company conducted over 200,000 consumer taste tests, with the majority stating they preferred the new taste.  What the company did not account for was the cultural identity tied to Coca-Cola.  It was not a mere soda, fizzy and refreshing, but an icon of all things American…just like apple pie, baseball, and Chevrolet.  For the next 79 days, response to New Coke was overwhelming and heard from every corner of the nation.  The company’s customer service number, 800-GET-COKE, was inundated with complaints—receiving roughly 1500 calls a day compared with 400 a day before New Coke.  Company employees, ranging from CEO to janitorial staff, were held accountable for the atrocious blunder.  Disgruntled consumers formed protest groups, some to demand a return of the classic taste and some to honor a fallen icon.  The Old Cola Drinkers of America recruited over 100,000 supporters in efforts to bring back the traditional formula.  And, much like the recent aftermath of Hostess announcing the end of Twinkies, dedicated Coca-Cola customers began hoarding the classic soda in basements and closets.

Finally, on July 11, 1985, The Coca-Cola Company announced the return of “old” Coke, under the name Coca-Cola Classic.  New Coke did not initially fade into obscurity but was instead marketed alongside Coke Classic with a very separate marketing campaign aimed at a younger generation of cola drinkers.  New Coke’s name eventually changed to Coke II in 1992.  By 1998, Coke II could only be found in small, scattered groceries in the Midwest and by 2002 was discontinued altogether in the United States.

To learn more about New Coke, the Coca-Cola Company, or other awesome things available at the library–come check us out!

 *okay, so maybe it’s not the most significant date in U.S. History…but it’s up there.


Isdell, Edward N.  Inside Coca-Cola: a CEO’s Life Story of Building the World’s Most Powerful Brand. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2011.

Ross, Michael E. “It Seemed Like a Good Idea at The Time: New Coke, 20 Years Later, and Other Marketing Fiascoes.”, 22 April 2005. Web. 16 April 2013. <>